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Aquicore Experts: Meet Building Systems Engineer, Rae Celestine-Honore

Behind the Aquicore platform is a team of professional engineers with expansive domain expertise that steer our product and help our customers learn about their buildings, find savings, and create strategies to make progress towards portfolio reduction targets.

We thought it was time to introduce you to them. First up is Rae Celestine-Honore; we sat down with her to discuss her background, her role at Aquicore, and her advice if you’re considering upgrades or improvements to your buildings.

Rae is a mechanical engineer with a focus on energy conservation and sustainability, particularly in buildings. She is professionally licensed in the state of Florida and a LEED Accredited Professional with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the same from the University of Florida.

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Rae enjoys living in South Florida with her family, and firmly believes any weather below 60 degrees is too cold. She has worked in both the public and private sectors leading energy and efficiency projects, often with guaranteed energy savings; her skills include identifying and quantifying energy conservation measures involving lighting, water, and HVAC.

Rae leads the Projects team at Aquicore and works directly with customers as a Building Systems Engineer. This requires her to analyze the mechanical and controls systems in customer buildings to find savings and improvements. She collaborates closely with operators and building engineers to understand the highs and lows of a given building’s operations, and is also heavily involved in the implementation of the Aquicore platform, customizing Aquicore’s analytics to account for the unique characteristics of each building she supports. 

What is a typical facility analysis like?

During the facility analysis, I review the 12-month utility history of the facility and examine all available mechanical and controls drawings, documenting all major mechanical equipment and critical sequences of operations. I interview building operators and other relevant building staff to understand how occupants use the space and how systems are operated including any limitations or desired enhancements of the systems. The outcome of this analysis is a comprehensive summary of the existing conditions and an indication of savings potential. 

What are the main differences you see when looking for operational improvements in hospitality vs commercial real estate?

There are two major factors when discussing operational efficiency in mechanical systems: the load on the system, and how that load is met. In much of the commercial market, building operators can impact both the load (think temperature setbacks at night) and how the load is met (think optimizing HVAC equipment). Our recommendations in this sector cover both aspects.

In the hospitality space, impacting the building load is limited, as operations are 24/7 and driven by guests. In this market, our product focuses on optimizing operations to meet the building load  – like a car that gets great gas mileage on a 200-mile commute.

What did you do prior to joining Aquicore? 

One of my favorite projects involved the installation of a biogas generator for a south Florida wastewater plant. The project taxed my skills and was a great learning opportunity. The main intent of the project was to enhance and divert the biogas produced during the treatment of wastewater to power a custom-made biogas generator. The generator produced electricity that was used on-site at the wastewater plant. Waste heat from the generator was used to preheat process water.

I was primarily responsible for the rate analysis, baseline creation, and cost avoidance calculations for electricity. This required a thorough examination of a complex time of use rate tariff as well as the constraints on the run times of the generator. During this project, I gained insight into this aspect of the municipal infrastructure in my community, the quality and quantity of wastewater, and how it affects the energy content of biogas and the synchronization of alternative power sources to the main electric grid.

How do you help Aquicore customers find savings?

Aquicore addresses a critical need for building operations. A building can start its life with a sound and efficient design. However, over the course of the building’s life, it may be repurposed or reconfigured, and equipment within the building might change. All these factors affect how the building performs today. The AQ solution provides customized recommendations that optimize building operations based on real-time data from the building.

Tip Sheet

Rae’s top advice if you’re considering upgrades or improvements to your: 

- BMS 
BMS upgrades can be costly, understand the needs of your facility to ensure a targeted approach.
- HVAC system
Think flexibility and continuity: How will new systems perform if the building is repurposed or operations change?
- Energy monitoring software

Data is useful only if it’s actionable. Aquicore and the Building Systems Engineer team specializes in collecting all types of building data to surface energy savings projects that are sure to make a collective impact across your portfolio.